[development] problem with per theme block config

Alaa Abd El Fattah alaa at eglug.org
Sat Apr 8 11:18:36 UTC 2006


so I finally discovered that on 4.7 blocks config will be different per
theme. it seems the idea is that since we can't guarantee which regions
will be provided by which theme we can have a global block config.

trying to provide flexibility is fine by me but most websites will
still limit themselves to one or two sidebars and this new feature
makes life very difficult.

first of all I can't imagine explaining to users why they have to
repeat block config everytime they change a theme. with blogs and
forums and other such websites people might change themes alot, but
it's even worse if changing the theme is a rare thing since they're
bound to forget that there are extra steps involved.

even worse sometimes one has to try different themes to see how the
block configuration affects them, for instance some themes barf on
large tables (like the event calender) in the sidebars. now instead of
just flipping themes, I have an longish extra step per theme. (does
this also include rewriting visibility rules?).

I usually develop a website on some stock theme and then work with a
designer to come with a design, we might have different versions of the
design for the client to choose from, I usually allow the designer to
access my development server and change the theme, not I have to either
explain to the designer all about blocks or be present whenever she
changes themes.

also I'm building a small blogging server based on drupal, users are
not allowed to change block config at all but they are allowed to
change themes. I prepare a drupal install with a specific arrangement
of blocks all using a stock theme, then I make a copy of the database
whenever we create a new blog, now if the blogger changes themes the
block config is lost and all the stuff I enabled to make the bloggers
life easier are lost. 

so the point I'm trying to make is in order to offer a more flexible
way of themeing we broke usability for the most common uses.

is it too late to fix this? can't we have a way to set global blocks
config which makes some assumptions about regions?

Alaa: Husband of the Grand Waragi Master


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